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VOL. 130 | NO. 203 | Monday, October 19, 2015

McLean Wilson To Address Crosstown’s Resurgence

By Madeline Faber

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Four years ago, the Sears Crosstown building started on a complete transformation into becoming a vertical urban village as Crosstown Concourse. It hasn’t been an easy journey for McLean Wilson, leader of the abandoned building’s $200 million redevelopment, but it’s one that has the potential to uplift other disinvested areas in Memphis commercial real estate.


“I think there seems to be, in Memphis and generally in real estate, a fear of doing things that are complicated,” Wilson said.

As principal with Kemmons Wilson Inc., Wilson comes from a long line of innovative developers. As a third-generation member of the company, Wilson works mostly in hotel development and commercial real estate, strengthening the company’s presence in Memphis that stretches back to the first Holiday Inn in 1952.

He attributes Crosstown’s success to creative placemaking, or the cultivation and curation of tenants that share a vision to spur economic development and innovation within their sectors.

He’ll expand on creative placemaking and the Crosstown Concourse project in his keynote address at the on Nov. 5 Commercial Real Estate Review and Forecast hosted by The Daily News.

“It is somewhat of a model to be looked at and studied,” he said. “My hope is that folks can see the way in which we curated our tenants and have been very intentional about how we placed organizations together and how that of itself can create a better community, a better neighborhood, and be a model for others to think about.”

Wilson has been responsible for the financing, legal, leasing and project management side of Crosstown Concourse.

As one of Memphis’ most ambitious private development projects, 31 funding sources came together in the redevelopment effort.

“That was the most challenging part, seeking as many sources of funding that we could that had a low-cost basis,” Wilson said.

The 1.1 million-square-foot tower is 90 percent leased and on its way to a 2017 grand opening.

After Wilson speaks at 3:00 p.m., four other commercial real estate leaders will present their sector forecasts.

Kemp Conrad, principal and president of asset services at Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors, will provide an office outlook. Tim Mashburn, senior leasing associate at Colliers International, will speak on the industrial market. Jimmy Ringel, chief operating officer of Makowsky Ringel Greenberg, will provide a multifamily overview, and Brian Whaley, senior associate of retail brokerage services for CB Richard Ellis Memphis, will talk about retail real estate.

Afterward, there will be a question and answer session with all presenters followed by a wine and cheese reception.

Sponsors for the event include Evans Petree PC, Trustmark National Bank, and CBIZ MHM LLC.

To register or for more information, visit seminars.memphisdailynews.com or contact Leah Sansing at 901-528-8122 or leah@memphisdailynews.com.

PROPERTY SALES 81 201 16,108
MORTGAGES 40 104 10,026
BUILDING PERMITS 130 336 38,272
BANKRUPTCIES 28 56 7,528